Poster: Leoric McLarkin
Post # 4
The ride to Kildare castle didn't take too long and the ride enjoyable.
Savina might not be use to such an escort but it was for the public's
eye that did as a king should be.. guarded. His kingsmen were not of the
ordinary and above the rest. Once the castle was within a half mile,
Simon and Vincent rode ahead to inform the Regent that Leo would be
arriving within ten minutes. They passed through the main town as many
stopped what they were doing to bow, wave or salute as they passed. Some
of the children tried running alongside to get a glimpse of the king and
the one inside the carriage with him. Of course they couldn't really
tell as the horsemen were on either side to keep anyone from actually
making contact with the royal carriage. Only way they'd get to see is if
Savina hung out the window! The castle became a flurry of activity as
Simon and Vincent dismounted and headed within, their horses led away by
the stable boys. Guards amassed near the front gate where the carriage
would pass. Once there, the footman was down and around to see to the
door and a hand for the lady but Leo was out and already had Savina's
hand in his to help her as the footman bowed away. He would tuck her arm
within his before escorting her within.
Corina made sure that her handmaid got hold of her when Leo was almost
home. She handed off the little one to her nanny before she was on her
way to join up with her husband, Gaidan. She preferred taking care of
her children personally but certainly having a nanny for each of them
came in handy when she was needed such as now. Her smile was bright and
warm for him as she joined him in the Grand Room. A very spacious and
comfortably equipped living area that could serve quite a few purposes.
The entire journey, Savina sat back against the cushion of the carriage
bench, her legs tuck up beside her. She watched Leoric, without any
attempt to hide that fact. She watched him until she heard the commotion
outside. Only then did she reach over and press the curtain aside with
the tips of her fingers. The conversation between them continued, even
though she watched the people from that small slit of exposure. Once
they arrived, she quieted, ever observant and mindful while Leoric
escorted her, taking it all in, feeling it all out. Henna'ed and tokened,
she would normally not be a guest of such a lofty place. It was all
rather interesting, was it not? She at the King's side, escorted on his
arm? She turned a look up to him, smiled, then entered with him into the
castle. The Mountain and the Valley as one.
Thane stood off to the side of the hall, bowing to the King and the
woman at his side as they passed. He cocked a look up to follow their
progress once they were by him. Weren't the LiW going to have a grand
time with this?!
Gaidan wasn't surprised that Leoric was bringing the mysterious Lady to
meet them. How could he be when he and his brother were connected as
they were? He smiled as Corina joined him, watching her until she was
close then he leaned over and kissed her in a proper greeting between
man and wife. That very pleasant task finished, he took hold of her hand
and tucked it in the crook of his arm, his hand over hers. "You
look lovely, Corina." Then he turned to watch the door.
Each kiss was as good as the last and she would never tire of her
husband's kisses. They still curled her toes neatly tucked away in silk
slippers. She updated him on Cailin Honeee as well Marcus Gaidan. She
had yet to meet this mysterious old woman, considered a witch by some
but Corina didn't, as she heard so much about her through the trials
Kildare saw. With a comfortable smile upon her fair features she turned
in wait, in a greeting to come, at her husband's side.
Leo could feel her every emotion for the touch they shared even if
proper. Head held high but there was a new light in silver blue eyes.
That light had a lot to do with the beautiful woman at his side. No
longer the wizened old woman that one might count her years to be at
least a hundred plus ten. No, Savina was an exquisite beauty but she had
the beauty of soul that captured Leoric's heart. Some of the LiW would
be slightly disappointed but not in a way that they would hold it
against the woman Leo chose. Still, this was the first step and
hopefully the following ones would advance as he hoped. The castle would
be in whispers for days to come. Ones that would spread to the town and
beyond within the hour they could safely bet. They continued straight to
the Grand Room where he knew his brother and sister in law would be
waiting along with refreshments.
Vincent had taken up his post aside the door leading into the Grand
Room. There was just a hint of a smile as he knew, as he had been, those
within were in for a surprise too. A knowing look shifted briefly upon
Thane, Jael and Simon before saluting his king with a fisted hand over
his heart, given thrice, as he and Savina passed.
Leo slightly dipped his head when passing his knights in acknowledgement
before they were within the room and approaching Gaidan and Corina.
"Gaidan, Corina, I would like you to meet Savina." Not one to
beat around the bush as surely this woman was not what they might have
expected and rightly so. "Savina has come to stay with us for we
plan to marry within the year." That was what was hoped. So, there
was not one surprise but two. Something that had been a very long time
These walls could talk and at the moment they were buzzing with
information, all of which silenced immediately as Leoric spoke. Easing
her hand from his arm, she dipped into a deep curtsy before the Regent
and his Ladywife with the respect due to the Swordarm of Kildare's
resurrection. The thin braids that mingled with the thick locks fell
forward over her shoulders when her head bowed. But it was Leoric's year
announcement that had her turning her gaze up to him, and slowly
straightening without the permission to do so and shifting her eyes just
as quickly over to the two opposite them.
Gaidan was surprised to see the young woman who entered the room with
his brother and he looked down at Corina briefly to see if she too,
showed surprise. He recovered quickly and smiled back at Savina, though
again, Leoric's announcement caught him by surprise. How had his twin
decided so quickly? Again, he recovered as he spoke to Savina.
"Welcome, Savina. To Kildare and into our family, it seems."
He looked at Leoric then his gaze went back to the woman who seemed as
surprised as he!
Corina was not royal born but she held a royal way about her. Learned a
lot after she came to Kildare as Gaidan's wife. He was her snow prince,
long before she knew he was a prince and she was his snow angel,
allowing her to fall in love before she knew he was titled. Her smile
was bright as she stepped forward to welcome Savina as a soon to be
sister. Taking up her hands as she teased with ease, "I thought he
was bringing home a much older woman," green eyes held a certain
light to them, "but he brought home Cinderella and now we will not
need to hold a ball to find him one." She didn't look Leoric's way
but he'd see that imp's curl at the corners of her lips. "I dare
say there will be many a heart broken but then," although Leo
didn't have an entourage nor led a single heart on, "I am so
pleased he has found one to fill his heart." She placed a light
kiss to Savina's cheek before releasing her hands as she stepped back.
She was welcoming her in as a sister would.
Leo held his brother's eyes. There was little between them left unknown
so it was a day to remember that he could surprise him, surprise him two
fold. There was a slight dip of his head and any tension eased with
Corina's welcome especially. "I would like to refresh," which
meant to wash up some and change his clothes, "and meet back here
to have something to eat. We have a matter of the Mullen clan to
discuss." So, there was yet another side to all of this as would
come out once they sat to talk. He would escort Savina to the room she
would be staying in, one not far from his, if she too wished to refresh
herself. She would have the ladies in waiting as well a few handmaids to
see she had everything she needed. This part might be hard to get use
Savina practically clung to Corina's hands as they captured her own. She
leaned in when the woman placed a kiss to her cheek and whispered before
their hands were released. "Appearance is but a mind's game for the
eyes, M'Lady." She too turned her face ever so slightly to touch
her lips to Corina's cheek, then looked over to Gaidan. "My thanks,
Your Grace." Her hand slipped back underneath Leoric's arm and her
eyes drifted up to him again. "I would wish to do the same, Leoric,
before we discuss The Clan."
Surprised? Gaidan was more in shock. He just met Leoric's gaze, barely
keeping his expression near blank, though Corina had him smiling again.
"Of course. I trust there was no trouble on the trip back?"
Not with the knights with them. He looked at Corina again. "Shall
we retire to our rooms until they're ready?" The company of their
children was always a balm to Gaidan's spirit.
Savina looked back to Gaidan, tilting her head a little before she
decided to confess. "The carriage...it caused my legs to
stiffen..by backside to become sore." That said, she smiled. For it
was the truth of it...and the man had asked after all.
"Of course, Marcus has been asking for you since breaking
fast," which they all did together. Turning her attention back to
mostly Savina, for she was their guest, more than a guest, "I will
bring them down briefly so you can meet them." Especially Marcus
who, although only three, was a precocious child going on thirty.
Tucking her arm upon Gaidan's, they would leave as brother and Savina
made their way out. Oh, she was smiling even more for Savina's comment
of the carriage ride.
He couldn't help laughing hearing her retort to Gaidan for they were not
as stuffy as being King and Regent would have them. "I will have to
see about having extra cushions installed." Giving Savina a wink as
his hand came to rest over hers as she tucked it within the crock of his
arm. The staff would make sure everything was ready by the time they
returned. Her room was picked for not only the colors of a muted yellow,
green and browns, its spaciousness but mostly for the high windows that
gave a view of her mountains on one side and the rolling green valley
and port to another side. Here he would leave her to the attentiveness
of the ladies in waiting, who were already waiting for her there. Leo
knew she was in good hands as he gave a slight bow of his head, the
smile that was even more in his eyes than upon his lips before excusing
himself to his chambers.
The perfect view, for the perfect evening...for what may be the rest of
her life. No manner of scrubbing by the ladies would erase the tattoos
so long applied to Savina's skin. Just as well, she'd feel naked and
vulnerable without them. That aside, once those ladies were confident in
their work, and that Savina presented a true and noble Lady of Kildare,
it was at that window that Savina awaited the summons to return to the
King's side. Looking out over Kildare. Looking out over Kildare's
The time with the children would be well spent, though as he sat on the
floor with their son, Gaidan finally spoke. "What do you think of
all this, Corina? Is it possible for Leoric to fall so quickly for a
woman he barely knows?" It was a legitimate concern in his eyes.
His brother was King and if Gaidan had the slightest concern that the
elder twin had been bewitched, it better be addressed now.
She came to sit in the rocking chair near her husband, holding Cailin in
her arms. "You have such abilities as well, do any alarms go off?
Certainly one can fall in love at first sight but it is rare. We
did." Which was true, that night had been magical that wove its
spell around them. "He said a year's time. I'm sure if she is not
what she presents herself to be then we shall know." She reached a
hand to touch his shoulder as he sat on the floor with Marcus. It was
also a warning that little ears were listening! Such a child might say
something! "I like her already," as she gave her son a wink.
Meanwhile Leo was bathing and then changing into informal clothes,
although some would say they were informal, they were well made. He was
anxious to get back downstairs for a few reasons. He was really hoping
his brother and Corina would like Savina. What was there not to like? He
was back down even before they arrived as he stood by the window having
a glass of the pure on ice. Word being sent that the King was down in
the Grand Room.
Word arrived and Savina slid her hands along her sides, smoothing down
the fabric of the fine dress she wore. It was time. Time to discuss how
she fit so uncomfortably into the puzzle of Clan Mullen. Would this turn
the Regent and his Lady forever against her? She attempted not to send
out that thread of wonder, not wishing to know, afraid she may actually
touch upon some truths about her own future that had always been denied
her in the past. She walked with the guard sent to bring her below, not
speaking to him other than to thank him when their paths parted and she
entered the room. Leoric. Alone. She actually breathed out a sigh of
relief and hurried over to him, heavy skirts swishing at her quick
movement. "Oh Great White One...I am a bit...overwhelmed." She
didn't wait for him to gather her up, but slid in beside him, a slender
arm snaking around his back so that she fit herself to the strength of
his side. It was good that his drink was held in that other hand.
"No, no alarms." Gaidan wanted to say more but he just nodded,
then smiled at Marcus. He chuckled at the lad's antics then when it was
time to go, stood. There was much for him to worry about, and it was due
to the past he and his twin shared. With a promise to Marcus to come
into his room after he was done speaking with Uncle Leoric, he once
again offered Corina his arm. They shouldn't keep his brother and the
Leo knew the moment she approached from the hall, turning as she rushed
over to him, a smile starting up already. "I know it is all so new
but in time you'll be just fine." So he hoped, so he felt as he
leaned down to touch his lips upon hers. Nothing overly for anyone could
walk in on them but it was to give her some comfort. Lips parting as he
offered her his drink, "take some of this." Certainly the Pure
was a salve for many an ailment or to calm the nerves. They would be
found, nonetheless, his arm about her as they stood by the window.
The two Nannies would come with them, respectfully behind the royal
couple. Corina carrying Cailin and Marcus walking aside his father like
a little man. Blond hair and blue eyes too. It wasn't until the last
moments, as they reached the door, that little hand slid up to capture
his father's. Corina was smiling as they entered the room to see the two
so together.. not like some kind of arrangement of old. "Here we
are, my little Cailin and Master Marcus." Approaching as Corina
held the sleeping princess in a way that she could be seen. Marcus on
the other hand dropped his hand from his fathers to give a bow. He did a
good job of it too.
She did as she was told, taking the glass and drinking down the liquid,
not knowing what it was or what it would do. And..she was dying! She
started coughing, her throat was on fire, her lungs were aflame. She
buried her face in Leoric's side, handing up the glass back to him, as
she continued to choke and wheeze. She had just managed to draw her
first clear breath when the family entered, and she looked their way
with her eyes watering. She blinked away the tears, watching them
approach. Savina had been secluded for more years than she was with the
clan. Hers was not a life of interaction with small ones. She tightened
her hold on Leoric but then drew in a deep breath. Both to clear her
lungs and head as well as to bolster the courage to interact. Especially
with children. Strange, though, when she looked upon the babe, her heart
swelled with joy. So innocent. So vulnerable So ... beautiful. Savina
forced her gaze from the baby to the mother. "My Lady, she is...an
angel come to earth." The boy's bow drew her gaze and she couldn't
help but smile, easing her arm from around Leoric's back in order to dip
into a proper response to so gallant a gesture. "An honor, Master
Marcus. I am Savina." As she straightened, she raised her gaze to
Gaidan, her eyes lingering in that contact with his. She was a witch.
That was no secret. She had fought a common foe along with the brothers.
That was no secret. But who she was, who she really was, remained as a
secret to the Regent. But soon...that also would no longer be so. He was
already skeptical of her, it was there in the depths of his gaze. She
struggled to accept that caution as justified. In her own caution
against Keary, she had disguised herself, and in that way, presented a
lie. Tonight, she stood before him as the daughter of the chieftain
responsible for attacks upon his lands. Caution was just. That didn't
mean it didn't cut deep and sting. Because...it did. You shall be
content and happy, Savinell. With those words as her strength, she
centered herself for whatever the future may hold. She dipped her head
to Gaidan and pulled her gaze away, turning once more to the only man
she truly needed to trust her.
Gaidan watched Savina then lowered his eyes to Marcus as the boy drew
away his hand. His smile was filled with pride and warmth for the small
lad. "I am... " All those words he had learned just went out
of the lad's head. He giggled then smiled wide. "Hello, Lady Savina.
You're pretty." And with that, he hid his face against his father's
leg. Gaidan laughed and ruffled his son's hair. It would all come in
time. "Well done, Marcus." He said in a low voice and the boy
peeked out at Savina again. He met Savina's gaze calmly, with no fear or
hesitation, then nodded as well. Gaidan would come to know the truth in
time, and perhaps his feelings, his caution, would change.
It was better her husband was cautious, a kingdom could suffer otherwise
but Corina had more faith than doubt. Then again she had a whole
different background than the brothers. She was pleased Savina was drawn
to the two little ones. "She is an angel and far less fussy than
her brother at her age." Giving a wink to Marcus as she
complimented him in turn, "well done. Your bow has very much
improved." Which she knew he had been working on. The nannies were
alert to step up to take the sleeping child as well Marcus in hand,
"we will see you both in a short while and a story before you
sleep." It was a routine that was important. From this point, she
would be more the spectator, listening and watching. Only if asked would
she add her thoughts.
Leo had not been expecting Savina to drink it down like it was water.
Although it was clear. He'd have to keep an eye on her in case it
affected over the next hour. Never knew when one had abilities beyond
the norm. Some it didn't affect at all while others, it could knock them
out cold. He was very pleased with the next interactions, small
children, and his brother. Still, he was concern for her drinking down
the potcheen like that, "shall we have something to eat," it
would be a light fare being dinner would be served in a few more hours.
A gesture of hand to the cozy arrangement of seats in front of a large
fireplace. One that only had smoldering peat burning in it. Something of
old, something of Eire. The fare was set out on a long coffee table that
they could pick at while they ate. He escorted her over and would take
up the seat next to hers. Being he was sitting, if they bother with
protocol, they could all sit.
She, like Corina, would remain silent until her input was needed. A
wiggle of fingers in goodnight to the lad. Goodness. At the moment, she
was just happy to sit down. Just a little light headed...yes...a chair.
Gaidan escorted Corina to the chairs after he kissed Marcus and Cailin
good night. He still couldn't believe at times that he was so amazingly
lucky. He smiled at Corina as she sat, then settled beside her. A light
meal would be welcome, though he wasn't as hungry as usual. Too many
Leo didn't bring up anything right off, no, it was better to get
something in their stomachs, especially Savina. Once they had enough to
eat, passing plates and so on, trying this or that in a family sort of
way, comments made on how good it was and so on, Leo finally opened up
the can of worms so to say. "Savina knows much about the Mullen
clan." Giving her the window that she would tell her side of it. He
still wondered how Daniel knew enough about Savina. Man seemed to have
his fingers in a few pies. That could be good.. or bad. He made sure
Savina had either the juice or water that was offered until it was
discovered if she could hold such liquor as the pure. It should relax
her no matter.
Yes, the food was helping. The weight of it in her stomach balanced out
the liquid but that still didn't keep her from blinking slowly, then
dragging a look in Leoric's direction. She swallowed, setting her glass
back to the surface of table and softly clearing her throat. "They
are...My clan." Her chin lifted, and her gaze traveled across the
table to rest right on Gaidan's.
Gaidan enjoyed the meal, even relaxing enough to forget his suspicions
for a time. He was in the process of lifting his glass when Leoric
spoke. It hovered above the table for just a breath, then he lifted it
for a needed drink. "So, you can tell us why they seem to be
hostile. Or," and he paused as the glass was placed on the table
again. "Have you not been in contact with them?" She lived in
a cave, away from people. He had to wonder if it was connected to her
talents. Again, he showed no hostility, only curiosity but she would no
doubt know his reasoning, as would his brother.
He understood very well as he sat back with his drink. A touch of his
free hand along her back would show his support. He knew the answers,
his brother did not and it was better for Savina to tell him in her own
words. So in this, he remained quiet. Silver blue eyes touched upon his
brother as he'd understand why he no longer 'jumped' in.
And so, she repeated what she had shared with Leoric. Her relationship
to the Chieftain. Her reasons for seeking refuge and remaining as the
old lady of the mountain. Her secret visits to her mother. "It is
possible, Your Grace, as I explained to Leoric." Her arm crossed in
front of her waist, her hand reaching around behind her to touch her
fingertips to his. "That the brothers are using the fear of the
unknown, the new leaders of Kildare, to instigate an uprising to weaken
Gibb's authority." Her shoulders tensed as she prepared to
continue. "And then...there is Lamia."
Gaidan listened intently, his shoulders tensing slightly. They would
have to tread carefully. If Gibb could be persuaded to ally with Kildare
and Leoric, war could be averted. "Who is Lamia?" Was this
person a threat alone, or connected to the clan. "And how does she
come into what is happening?" He was guessing that Lamia was a she.
Savina didn't hesitate. Perhaps it was the liquid courage. More than
likely, she wouldn't have anyway. "Lamia is the wife of Bevan, who
is the son of Duncan.. She is also, most importantly, my half-sister.
When I fled the clan, she was beginning to exercise her ... powers. My
mother has confided in me that the woman has become quite efficient with
her skills. I am not her favorite sibling. She...is not mine. In fact, I
claim her not at all as blood and she would rather spill mine than do